Cloaked in mystery dating back to the Middle Ages, the Free Masons have persisted as an organization in local communities throughout world, providing a vast array of services and charitable deeds. The Masonic Lodge in Twisp sits prominently on the highway, stating its presence. Yet its local activities may be less well known than some other organizations.
In the middle ages, masons were skilled craftsmen and formed guilds whereby apprentices learned the building trades. Back then, skilled masons would travel to where a cathedral or large manor was being built and would reside in the lodges. Once their craft was perfected to a certain level, masons would be inducted through ceremony and furnished with a symbol to denote their rank. Symbolism of the masons has been the basis of much conspiracy and skepticism for centuries, including the “eye of providence” the on the $1 bill.
The lodges provided a brotherly atmosphere to learn the skill and socialize. Over time, rituals and ceremonies to induct members based on skills and performance evolved. At some point, the affiliation with the craft waned and what remained was the social alliance and loyalty to the lodge held together by the rituals and lore. Today’s masonic lodges are dedicated to community service and building character in its members.
As a fraternal organization, the Free Masons are a men’s only, membership-based service organization with affiliate lodges throughout the world. To become a Mason, one must show an interest or be invited. Masons are not aligned with any explicit religion or political affiliation. In fact, religion and politics are banned from discussion inside the lodges. Members must profess belief in a Supreme Being and a “sacred text” of any kind must be housed in the lodge, but otherwise the organization is secular in nature. Individual lodges are loosely governed by a hierarchy composed of a regional grand lodge, though local lodges exist quite independently.
Almost as secretive as the ritual and symbolism that surrounds the legacy of the Masons, the good deeds of the Masons may go unnoticed. Recently, after a medical setback to a Carlton family that left Don Daymat at risk for falling, his wife Zen Brandon reached out for help, and the Twisp Masons answered the call.
Members of the local lodge came together in to build a wheelchair ramp and install a lift chair in the couple’s Carlton home, allowing mobility and security during a turbulent transition. Nick Brandenburg of North Valley lumber provided lumber at cost to the project and the Masons were able to install the ramp over the course of a weekend. The local Twisp lodge has a long legacy of wheelchair ramp building, most notably the Methow Valley Community Center, which enlisted the skills of the Masons. So, while the Masons may not be bricklayers, they do have some handy men giving a hand to people in need.
Masonic Charities is an international foundation that helps local lodges compete projects with funding and scholarships. They provided the $1,500 needed in funds for the recent wheelchair ramp supplies. They also provide a type of social service agency for palliative care and aging in place to individuals in need. To learn more about the Twisp Lodge, its projects and its members, inquiries can be made to Sean Wilson at (360) 853-5354, who was recently sworn in as the grand master of ceremony.